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How can we achieve zero hunger?

Words by Smiley Team

No one in our world should go hungry. That’s the basis of the second of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: Zero Hunger 

The UN states: “Extreme hunger and malnutrition remains a barrier to sustainable development and creates a trap from which people cannot easily escape. Hunger and malnutrition mean less productive individuals, who are more prone to disease and thus often unable to earn more and improve their livelihoods. 

“A world with zero hunger can positively impact our economies, health, education, equality, and social development.”

According to the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report, up to 811 million people lived in hunger in 2020, which is 161 million more people than in 2019. 

“If we don’t make significant changes to our global approach, we may not achieve #ZeroHunger by 2030,” says a spokesperson from The Hunger Project, a nonprofit aiming to help end world hunger.  

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Around one in three people did not have access to sufficient food in 2020, an increase of 320 million people within a single year. And without significant modifications to our current global strategy, around 660 million people may still live in hunger in 2030.

“There are many factors contributing to the declining progress; conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns are the major drivers slowing down progress, particularly where inequality is high,” says the spokesperson. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic also made the path towards SDG2 even steeper. The pandemic limited income for many people and made it difficult for them to afford nutritious food, especially in areas where hunger was already prevalent.”

Driving forward solutions

“Hunger exists at a nexus of issues,” says The Hunger Project. “Water rights, gender equity, government inaction, access to education, child marriage and other socially-supported inequities all contribute to chronic hunger. 

“Because of these factors, our current rate of progress will not be enough to end hunger by 2030. This is why we need to implement a bold, healthy food systems focused approach. Simply addressing individual parts of the system in isolation ignores the relationships and interactions between each interconnected part of the system. Instead, our global, sociopolitical systems need to end hunger by addressing the complex factors that impact it.” 

At The Hunger Project, they take a holistic approach to ending hunger and poverty. “We start with women - supplying resources and education so that they can become leaders in their communities; we mobilise communities to create and lead their own development actions; and we build relationships with local and national governments, to ensure that the work done by these communities is secure and sustainable,” they say. 

“Through our women-centered, community-led approach, millions of people living in conditions of hunger are already working towards self-reliance.”

This approach not only lays the foundation for a “sustainable end to hunger”, they say, it also strengthens a community’s resilience to disruption from a global pandemic, natural disasters, and conflict.  

Ending hunger by 2030 is not an easy task, especially with recent setbacks, but “it is possible” they say. “It requires collaboration on a global scale to address problems in our food systems. Achieving this ambitious goal requires a comprehensive approach with local communities at the helm. Every person living in hunger today is the solution, and they will lead the way to zero hunger by 2030.”

Collectively striving towards Zero Hunger

Manda Lakhani, acting CEO and trustee at The Hunger Project UK, says: “We are a global family and it’s through investing in this family that will end hunger and poverty.

"In the UK we work to create a community of like-minded people who are committed to a hunger-free future. Fundamental to our work is the belief that people are extraordinary, and that people living in hunger must be at the heart of the solution. That is why we ask you to ‘invest in’ rather than ‘donate to’ The Hunger Project, because we are investing in the people who are taking a stand to end hunger for themselves and their communities.” 

Inspired to act?

Support one of the organisations tackling hunger from the list below.

The Hunger Project UK

Through a women-centred and community-led approach, The Hunger Project works to end extreme hunger and poverty by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Volunteer. Donate

Food Ethics Council

A charity providing independent advice on food/farming ethics.

Volunteer. Donate

Food Matters

Food Matters was founded in 2003 when a group of food campaigners recognised a need to help local people translate national and European food policy into meaningful strategies and actions relevant to local people’s circumstances and communities.

Volunteer. Donate


FareShare is the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors, made up of 18 independent organisations. They take good quality surplus food from right across the food industry and get it to more than 10,500 frontline charities and community groups.

Volunteer. Donate

Food Aid Network

The Independent Food Aid Network is a network of independent, grassroots food aid providers working together to secure food security for all.

Volunteer. Donate.

Magic Breakfast

Magic Breakfast provides healthy school breakfasts to children at risk of hunger in disadvantaged areas of the UK. 

Volunteer. Donate

The Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust is working to stop UK hunger and poverty. Their network of foodbanks provides emergency food and support to people in crisis.

Volunteer. Donate

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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